Historically, speaking about the green side of ponds meant a conversation about pond algae. However, as more Americans are becoming environmentally conscious and looking for ways to conserve energy around their homes, “green” also refers to the ecological benefits of owning a pond.
Many households believe it’s important to maintain their landscapes in a way that benefits the environment, but few of these households realize that by replacing some or all of their lawn with a pond, they can conserve energy, save money, support the environment and reduce personal stress.
Following are TetraPond’s seven environmental benefits to owning a pond:
1. Lawns require watering, whereas ponds can be re-filled with rainwater. Maintaining a lush lawn requires regular watering and homeowners spend countless hours and thousands of gallons of water each year watering their lawns. Conversely, once a pond is initially filled, pond owners will only need to ‘top off’ the pond occasionally, especially if living in a climate that receives regular rainfall.
2. Ponds are a self-sustaining cycle of hydration that keeps plants alive without having to water them. For those interested in conserving water, ponds and water gardens are the best landscaping option. Shrubs, flowers and plants based in soil require constant watering, and a household’s water consumption can easily increase dramatically. Alternatively, through rainfall, ponds and water gardens literally water themselves. Additionally, pond water can be used to water other plants in the garden, therefore conserving water by eliminating the use of the garden hose.
3. Less mowing means less use of gas and carbon monoxide emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants.
4. Pesticides and fertilizers for the lawn can be harmful, creating run-off that ends up in our water supply. The EPA estimates that only 35-percent of lawn fertilizers applied ever reach the grass plant; the remainder ends up in the air or groundwater.
5. Sludge collected by a pond filter can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer for a lawn and garden. Pond sludge can contain nutrients from fish droppings, excess fish food and decaying leaves. Sludge, a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer, can be placed around the bottom of a tree, plant or shrub to aid in growth.
6. Ponds attract and create a haven for beautiful fish, dragonflies, frogs and birds, adding to wildlife propagation. In addition to fish, ponds and water gardens attract other creatures, providing a sanctuary for breeding.
7. Water gardens influence young people to help create a better future for the planet. Including children in the building of a water garden or pond helps them gain an interest in science and environmental issues. Water gardens are complete eco-systems that can educate children on how natural systems work and can influence them to help create a better planet.
Building a water garden or pond is enjoyable. Over time, many pond owners become fascinated by their fish and engrossed in a hobby that brings them great pleasure and adds distinct beauty to a home. But don’t forget to remind pond owners and potential pond owners of the ecological benefits that come with owning a pond. Every little bit helps, and improving the environment can begin at home.
Curt Nuenighoff is TetraPond director.